Flavourtown Bakery

Forget Lola’s and the Hummingbird Bakery, if you want the best cupcakes in London (and beyond, but they are based in London) you have to go to Flavourtown Bakery!

I only discovered these guys last weekend whilst wandering round Old Spitalfields Market. To be honest, I’d started to go off cupcakes a bit, most of the ones I’ve had recently have been quite disappointing – too sweet, too dry and just not really achieving the flavour they were aiming for. However, my eyes were initially caught by their Bad Ass Brownie cupcake – an amazing combination of chocolate cupcake and cheesecake and frosting. I was pretty sure it contained a whole days calories in a single cake, but it did look good.
As we still had stalls to see, we wandered off with the intention for returning for cake post-shopping.
Sadly, when we returned, the Bad Ass Brownie’s had sold out!! This was a little disappointing, but the rest of the selection available was plenty to take my mind off the disappointment 🙂

I ended up getting a box of four, as narrowing the selection down to just one would have been far too hard. I went for a Salted Caramel, Cookie Dough, Caramel Apple and Carrot Cake. The guys on the stall were really friendly and we had chatted for quite a while, so they also threw in a free Gingerbread cupcake which was their free secret cupcake of the week (if you like their Facebook page and show up at their stall in Old Spitalfields Market and ask for the secret cupcake by name, they’ll give it to you for free – while stocks last!)

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Clockwise from left; Salted Caramel, Caramel Apple, Carrot and Cookie Dough
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Secret Flavour – Gingerbread

 

I was not disappointed. The cakes were moist and the flavours were great without being ridiculously sweet.
The Carrot Cake cupcake was possibly a contender for being one of my favourite carrot cakes and definitely better than any carrot cake cupcake I’ve ever bought. The cake was moist and had a good amount of carrot and cinnamon. The cream cheese frosting was beautiful and complimented the cake well, without being too rich or sickly sweet.
Caramel Apple was also really, really nice and amazingly moist. As with the carrot cake, the cake itself was moist and had the amazing cream cheese frosting on top, plus a hidden centre of caramel that made this a very special cupcake.
Salted caramel was unusual, but not in a bad way, it made me think of toffee popcorn 🙂 With a caramel cupcake, a salted caramel centre and a caramel drizzle on top this threatened to be a seriously overpowering sugar hit, but the salt provided a great balance that gave the popcorn-y impression.
Cookie Dough was the first one I had whilst still at the market, and I wolfed it down so quickly it’s hard to comment on, but it was definitely enjoyable 🙂
Gingerbread was also amazing! It was like Old Jamaica Ginger Cake, which I love, with the addition of frosting. Plus the little fondant gingerbread man on top was super cute!

They also had a really interesting festive Mince Whoopie Pie. I didn’t get one, as I’m not a big fan on mince pies, but one of my friends did and I tried a bit – it was actually really nice. Turns out I dislike the texture of mince pies more than the flavour.

If you go to Old Spitalfields Market I strongly recommend you check them out. They do also take orders, but only if you live in London (booooo). Their menu is positively mouth-watering, I’d love to be able to try their maple bacon cupcake, Malt Teaser cupcake and Cheesecake cupcake 🙂 Plus, the guys are really nice to chat too.

I really want cake now :/

Love,

Betty

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Old Spitalfields Market Pop-Up Vintage Fashion Show

On Saturday, I made the trip up to London to take part in a vintage fashion show for Pop-Up Vintage Fairs and Old Spitalfields Market.

It was a pretty early start for me, having to be up, ready and out of the house in time to catch a train at 8am, much earlier than I’m usually up, especially on a Saturday! At least the tiredness distracted me a bit from how nervous I was! Having never been to Old Spitalfields Market, met any of the other great bloggers who had been invited or styled anyone other than myself, I was pretty terrified.

I managed to get myself to the market and met up with Jayne J Read of Jayne’s Kitschen and ReeRee Rockette of Rockalily. It was lovely to meet both the ladies, as I’ve often chatted with them on Twitter but haven’t had opportunity to meet up with them before. Needless to say, they’re both lovely!
After a bit of a chat we got shown to the stalls that were taking part to have a look at what was on offer. We were each to be assigned a model and a stall from which to put together two outfits for the catwalk show.

I got to work with the lovely Cat and picked outfits from Vintage Glitz N Bitz, with shoes from Rock on Ruby Vintage. I unintentionally ended up putting together two 70’s outfits – not a decade I normally go for, but the items just all came together that way and I was really happy with how it all turned out.
Candy Pout did a great job on the hair and make-up for all of the models.

Dress and Coat

Outfit 1
An orange shirt dress under a brown suede coat with fur collar and tan suede boots.
At first I wasn’t totally convinced by the tan boots, but they grew on me and I ended up very happy with the outfit.

Floaty Dress

Outfit 2
Dress with white, heavily beaded bodice and pale aqua chiffon skirt with white stiletto shoes

Cat was a brilliant model and totally worked it on the catwalk, as you can see in the gif below (created by the lovely Skin and Blisters – check her blog out!).

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The other bloggers also put together some gorgeous outfits (apologies for the quality of some of the pictures, it’s very hard to photograph moving models!). All the ladies were great and very stylish, you should check their blogs out!

Styled by ReeRee Rockette

ReeRee outfits

Styled by Jayne J Read

Jayne Outfits

Styled by Alison Tang

Alison Outfits

Styled by Sarah Ruppin

Sarah Outfits

As well as the catwalk shows there were performances from Swing Patrol dancers. I got involved and did a bit of dancing too, although my friends were totally resistant, one of the dance group members was on hand to be my partner. It was loads of fun, everyone else totally missed out by not joining in!

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I had a brilliant day, even if it was a bit exhausting. I hung around the market with some of my old uni friends for the rest of the day, exploring all the stalls. If you’ve never been to Old Spitalfields Market I really recommend you do, there are so many great stalls selling brilliant handmade items by some very talented crafts-people. If I’d have had the money I could have bought a lot of stuff! In the end all I did get was a new watch necklace for £5 and some cupcakes from Flavourtown bakery – which were so good they’re going to get their own post 🙂

I wish I had the money to get up to London more often.

Hope you all had a good weekend.

Love,

Betty

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My Quest for the Ultimate Carrot Cake; Lola’s Cupcakes, Selfridges

For some reason, I’ve had a pretty big break in my hunt for the perfect carrot cake. So much so that some of you may have not idea what I’m even going on about! Basically, I love carrot cake, it is probably my favourite type of cake, and I decided I would use my blog as a way of documenting every carrot cake I can get my hands on, to try and find the best one! (See my previous posts here and here).

On Tuesday last week I had to head into London for a work event. It was a really, really early start; the event started at 8.30 near Trafalgar Square, and I ended up getting up at 5.30am for a 7am train! As soon as I realised my tube went through Oxford Circus, I knew I’d have to make a stop and treat myself for getting up so early. As any sort of shopping is out of the question in my current financial situation, I settled for heading to Selfridges and indulging in a cupcake from Lola’s! I see so many tweets from people who are eating Lola’s cupcakes I wanted to get in on the action!
As if walking down Oxford Street wasn’t hard enough on it’s own, trying to avoid the temptation to go into the shops, Selfridges was ten times worse! Entering straight into the beauty hall, being lured by sales assistants with perfumes and make up and hair straighteners – Selfridges is not a poor girls friend! I made a quick detour through the Illamasqua stand, fortunately both the ladies working there were busy so I managed to leave with my bank balance intact! Then on to the food hall and Lola’s 😀
Despite the huge and beautiful array of cupcakes in the case, I managed to stick to my quest for carrot cake, although I could have easily bought one (or two) of everything! The staff were all lovely and the shop was so cute; colourful and light and bright.
The carrot cake cupcake isn’t even the prettiest looking cupcake – the brightly frosted vanilla cupcakes are by far more visually appealing – but joy of a carrot cake is much more subtle than that. The Lola’s carrot cake cupcake is filled with pecan nuts and topped with cream cheese frosting and more nuts, presumably also pecans.
There was a lot of anticipation for this cupcake, and I wasn’t disappointed in it, as a cupcake. It was a good size for a cupcake (definitely can’t be accused of being small!) with a good quantity of frosting; the cake was moist and the frosting had a nice flavour (possibly orange?). It wasn’t heavy or sickly and the frosting nicely complimented the cake. However, I am sorry to report, it was not the ultimate carrot cake. I’m not big fan of nuts in carrot cake, and there were quite a lot of nuts. Also, the frosting wasn’t rich enough in my book, a cream cheese frosting on a carrot cake should be amazingly rich and thick and this one just wasn’t. I was a little disappointed, as I had really hoped I would have found my ultimate carrot cake; but, on reflection I it’s actually perfectly ok that Lola’s don’t make the perfect carrot cake; they still make great cupcakes, and asking for a shop to make great cupcakes and great carrot cake might just be a step too far. If anything I’m just disappointed I didn’t let myself have something other than carrot cake! Next time (and there will be a next time, and a time after that…) I will venture outside my carrot cake obsession and try something else; Red Velvet, Cookies and Cream and Rocky Road are definitely high on my list.
If you’re in London then try and work a trip to one of Lola’s stores into your plans; they have stores in Mayfair, Selfridges and Topshop on Oxford Street and one in Harrods. Have a look at their flavour menu on their website here. I’d love to get a load of these cupcakes in for my birthday 🙂
I was so knackered by the end of the day but had such a lovely day. Although I’m pretty sure I could never live there, I really enjoy visiting London and I’m glad I live close enough to do so fairly regularly 🙂
I’m having cake craving pangs now – may have to bake soon!
Love

Bake, Rattle & Roll

I’ve had a serious cupcake craving ever since Monday when I saw all the yummy cupcakes at the ZOMG launch party! I finally got a bit of time to bake this afternoon and wanted to share the process with you. I’ve also recently acquired some new retro fonts, so I’ve also been playing around with annotating my photos 🙂

Ingredients

Recipe










Tips:
  • Check if your cakes are cooked either by pressing on the top and seeing if the cake bounces back or inserting a cocktail stick into the middle and seeing if it comes out clean. My oven is really poor so actually took about 25 minutes, even though the recipe said 15! Keep an eye on you cakes (but don’t open the door too early or they might sink!) and get to know how effective you oven is.
  • I’m still a frosting cheat, I used Betty Crocker’s Chocolate Buttercream Frosting  from a can, because it’s easier. It whipped it up with my electric mixer before pipping (been working on my pipping skills!).
  • My cupcake cases are silicone, which means they can be washed and reused instead of just throwing away paper cases 🙂
  • Go as crazy as you like with your decorations. I buy most of mine on eBay but I fancy trying out some sweets as decorations soon, jellies and buttons and dolly mixtures!
Let me know how it goes if you try making your own; they are pretty yummy if I do say so myself 🙂
Love

Halloween Cupcakes

I am absolutely knackered having spent all afternoon in the kitchen baking. I’m not complaining though, I really enjoy baking and today was extra fun as I was getting to create some cool Halloween cupcakes 🙂

I’ve seen a lot of Halloween cupcake designs online over the past few weeks, which gave me a good deal of inspiration, but mostly I worked from “A Zombie Ate My Cupcake” by Lily Vanilli. The book was a birthday present from one of my very good friends, and I’ve been waiting for Halloween ever since.

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Now, despite my love of cupcakes and baking, I don’t actually have a single go-to cupcake recipe. So, as I was using the book for design inspiration anyway, I thought I’d try out the cake recipes included in the back.

I was so impressed. The mix was really simple and produced a really lovely thick and creamy batter, plus I got 18 cupcakes out of the mix. As I wanted to make a batch of both vanilla and chocolate that means I ended up with 36 cakes!! The cakes baked well and rose really nicely. Plus, most importantly, they taste great! To be honest, I think I might have found that trustworthy go-to recipe.

The design ideas in the book are also totally awesome.

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These are just a selection of my favourite designs in the book. I think the Day of the Dead skulls are my absolute favourite, but looked a little bit too much for me to take on without having a few opportunities to practice. Again, I totally loved the idea of the shattered glass but chickened out a bit because the recipe specifies using a candy thermometer, which I don’t have. It might be fine without, but I’m a bit scared :/

I went for quite a selection of designs in the end, which took quite a while with three dozen cupcakes to decorate!

Cupcake Collage

Gravestones Cupcake: This one is a chocolate cupcake with chocolate fudge frosting and gingerbread gravestones. My piping skills really aren’t great, and writing on tiny grave stones was really tricky! The one on the left is meant to be a cross, but looks more like a lightning bolt in this picture!!

Mummy Cupcake: This is one of the best ones I did, in my opinion. It’s a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting and fondant icing bandages. The eyes are made of rice paper and were also a gift. The bandages took quite a long time, rolling out the fondant and then cutting the strips and placing them, but it was totally worth it. My ones are a bit different to the ones in the book, I adapted them based on things I’d seen online.

Franken-cupcake: These ones didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. The cake is vanilla, but coloured green, then covered in green vanilla frosting, with black nonpareils for hair and black writing icing for the face. The ‘bolts’ are made from Oreo Funstix.

Bloody Cupcake: Another vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting, with a slice through the middle filled with cherry jam. If I get enough courage to make shattered glass, then it will go in these.

Pumpkin Cupcake: Chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting and a fondant icing pumpkin. I’ve not really worked with fondant before, let alone colouring it! I was very worried I was going to end up with orange palms, but I went for it and fortunately my skin didn’t get stained.

Sugar Skull Cupcake: Chocolate cupcake with grey vanilla frosting and a fondant icing sugar skull. In truth, I was hoping to turn the frosting black with black food colouring, but grey was the best I could achieve. I’m really pleased with the fondant skull, if I hadn’t been so tired from all the rest of the decorating I would have made more. I definitely want to work more with fondant.

Now I just need volunteers to help me get through 36 Halloween cupcakes!!

I also made some larger gingerbread gravestones just as biscuits, some gingerbread ghosts and some gingerbread men that I want to decorate up as gingerbread zombies. As with the fondant skulls, I just didn’t have enough energy left to decorate those today. Oh well, I might just have to decorate biscuits tomorrow!

Woop, more Halloween-ness for me.
Love,
Betty
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National Cupcake Week 12th-18th September

Next week is National Cupcake Week. Not that I need an excuse to make or eat cupcakes, but I’m getting rather excited by the idea of making huge quantities of pretty little cakes 🙂
Hopefully I’m going to have some willing volunteers to help me eat all the cupcakes I’m hoping to make, otherwise all my diet efforts will be wasted :/

My favorite ideas at the moment include;

  • Millionaire’s Cupcakes: Basic vanilla cupcake filled with caramel and topped with chocolate frosting
  • Cherry Bakewell Cupcake: Almond flavoured cupcake, filled with jam and iced
  • Lemon Meringue Cupcake: Lemon flavoured cupcake, topped with lemon curd, frosting and a mini meringue

In case any of you are thinking of getting your bake on, either for cupcake week, or just generally, I though I would share some of my favorite baking blogs with you for inspiration.

Buns In My Oven
This blog features the best recipes, with pictures so delicious they make you feel like you’re gaining weight by just looking at them. Of course, looking at the pictures is the least of your weight gain worried. With such divine creations as Hot Fudge Sundae Oreo Brownies, Rolo Cake Mix Cookies, Caramel Turtle Tart and Nutella Pop Tarts you can see what I mean!
For those of you less cake-obsessed than I am, there are also a plethora of great savory recipes too.
The recipes are all really well written, well explained and not too complicated. They also come with nice little stories behind them and some fantastic photography!
This is definitely one of my favorite baking blogs.

Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
OK, so this is another awesome sugar fuelled, cakey blog and it totally rivals Buns In My Oven for calorie content and beautiful pictures.
I have seen recipes on this blog that I could never have dreamt up, but definitely want to try. Some of the best include; Rocky Road Brownies, Mini Jello-O Fish Bowls, Cheesecake Filled Brownie Bites, Rolo Brownies and Key Lime Swirl Cheesecake Bars. That’s just five, but I could honestly just keep on listing the amazing recipes on this site all day!
This lady sure does know her desserts, and her photography. This is dessert porn if ever I saw it 🙂

Cookies and Cups
Well, would you know it, another beautiful, mouth watering baking blog. It’s a wonder I’m not a hideous, morbidly obese monster. While this blog may be another enemy of my waistline, I can’t help but love it.
Every post contains a great recipe, accompanied by taste bud tantalising photography and a nice, personal blog post. Some of the recipe highlights in my opinion would be; Cream-cheese filled Snickerdoodles, Caramel Swirled Pretzel M&M Brownies and Double Glazed Funfetti Donuts.
Yet another fantastic recipe resource that I really enjoy reading.

I could go on, but honestly, the sight of all this cake is giving me cravings that I’m struggling to suppress :/ I must stay away from the can of caramel in the kitchen, things could get very messy.

If you have any favorite recipes or cake/baking blogs, I’d love to hear about them.

Love,
Betty
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I Love Cupcakes

Cupcakes are so joyful. They’re fun to make, even more fun to decorate, pretty to look at and yummy to eat :p Cupcakes make me smile 🙂 and things that make you smile can’t be bad.

Over the weekend I made mint chocolate cupcakes, that is chocolate cupcakes with mint frosting. They were pretty good, although I may have gone a little overboard on the mint and the chocolate was rather over-shadowed.

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They ended up a little messier than I would have liked, but perfection is over-rated :p

I’ve been looking for new ideas for different cupcakes, I’m a bit bored of making the same recipes. I like the idea of trying some cocktail themed recipes, mostly because I love cocktail umbrellas and think they’ll look amazing in cupcakes 🙂 So far on my list are mojito cupcakes, purple rain cupcakes and white russian cupcakes.
I’ve also found a recipe for salted caramel cupcakes, and I adore salted caramel. I think they’re top of my list, as they don’t involve investing in alcohol (£££). Hopefully the recipes will be easy enough to vegan-ise. Maybe they’d be good for sticking my chocolate covered pretzels on, although that might be a salt overload :/
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Baking is such a wonderful distraction from everything else in the world. I’ve been trying to cut back because baking = eating cakes = weight gain, which makes me sad 😦 I need to find people who not only will eat my cupcakes, but who will fight me for them and stop me eating entire batches of cakes and cookies 😉

Life’s too short, Eat dessert first
Betty
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